The Spike

Tuesday giveaway!

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There’s another giveaway today! This is a really fab product from a very very famous American brand – it suits all skin types and is worth £30! Definitely worth a £5 donation to a super charity for.

Just follow this link, donate £5 to Save the Children, screenshot the confirmation, email it across to me – – with the subject line “Save the Children” between 8am and 12 noon today and at 1pm I will pick a winner at random.

I changed the rules from yesterday to maximise potential donations to Save the Children as yesterday I got some, which was fab – but I want MORE…


Straw bags

If you want to be absolutely and totally up to date at the moment, you will need to get yourself a straw bag. And not one of those massive Sunday-market jobbies with leather straps, (though those are fine at a pinch and that’s what I’m making do with – boo hoo), but a new breed of straw bag.

Following as I do the entire fashion press and the worlds’ most fashioney people on Instagram on your behalf, I can tell you the most desirable bags to get.

The first is this on a website called Wood/Grey and it’s a super-cute round shoulder bag. It’s pre-ordering at the moment but if you’re into it, worth hanging around for. £79.

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This style of bag is also really popular, but they are sold out on this website. But keep a sharp eye out, as they will be everywhere quite soon.

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This website, Bohemia (wouldn’t it be funny if they were actually a firm of accountants?) has pretty much every style and shape of straw bag and basket you could ever want, at very okay prices. I think this one would bring any summer outfit you’ve got bang up to date for only £36.

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The major fashion girls are doing a thing where they carry about a tiny wicker basket (think Little Red Riding Hood) lined with cotton, with a lid, handkerchief tied to the handle. But I don’t think you and I need to do that.





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All this week I will be doing a fabulous make-up give away in aid of Save the Children. I have been hoarding samples, testers and other beauty goodies for the last few months and am now going to rain them all over the internet like Dolly Parton high on E.

All you have to do is keep tuned to me on Twitter (@estherwalker) and Instagram (@esthermcoren).

It will go like this:

All week between 8am and 12 noon donate £5 to Save the Children – screen grab the donation confirmation page, email it to me at and I will pick a winner at random and announce the winner at 1pm.

Easy peasy.

This is a LUCKY DIP – so you don’t know what you’re going to get, but trust me, it is all absolutely 100% top quality. All thriller, no filler. I’ve got big name brands and cult treasures. You want this stuff, trust me!

Good luck!


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Portugal oversized sunglasses from Chloe. Sorry, I meant TopShop.

WHO buys designer sunglasses? Who is it doing it? Is it you? You?

YOU ARE MAD! Crazy. Buying expensive sunglasses is like buying a clear, very thin crystal orb, which you must carry around with you at all times, but it can’t go in your bag and you can’t really put it down. It also cost £300 and everyone wants to nick it.

Don’t do it.

Every summer I bulk-buy TopShops’s maddest sunglasses. I mean the ones that look really insane. And everyone loves them ands says “Wow are those Marni?” and I say “No they are from TopShop.”

This year I bought these in cream and in black for £18 – but the tortoiseshell colour way is great, too.

I also branched out and went to Uniqlo and bought these, for £12.90, which have a yellow reflective tint and are awesome.

Or should I say were awesome, because I have lost them, or rather misplaced them (I’m sure they’ll turn up). But the thing is, even though I am well sad about having lost them, at the very least they did not cost £300.


For more fun and games join me over at Instagram @esthermcoren – this account used to be private but now isn’t! See you there x

Money diet (again)

It’s actually going okay, this not-spending thing. As I keep, keep, keep going on about – I buy too much and for the wrong reasons. I have in fact got everything that I need and new things aren’t going to make me thinner or prettier.

It’s not like the bad old days when I genuinely had nothing to wear because all I owned were shitty vests from H&M, cardigans and then bright green mini-cocktail dresses, unsuitable for all and any occasion.

I now have sensible smart daywear, I have loungewear, I have mum-wear. I own these amazing pineapple print pyjamas, which are absolutely light-as-a-feather and so comfortable it fills my heart with cosiness every time I put them on. (I also think that the top might double up as daywear.)

Before the financial axe came down I also snuck in three merino wool sweaters from Uniqlo and a Rixo dress. I feel like Indiana Jones grabbing his hat from the other side of the rolling-down stone wall. Phew! Got it.

I’m sure my husband didn’t mean stop buying things completely – he’s not that much of a meanie, but in fact I was a bit stung by the fact that he noticed how much I spend at all and now feel defensive and a bit proud about the whole thing and so I have stopped completely. I will wear things down to the stub!

So instead I have been exercising – swimming, spinning (£11 per class, bargain) and hilarious mum’s bootcamp on a playing field (£8 for 1 hour and I get to see my friends). I have also been cooking a lot and reading. It’s kind of amazing what you can achieve when you’re not just buying things on the internet and waiting for them to arrive.

BUT… but, but, but… a game I like to play is: what would I buy now if I could buy some things? Not a gold Mercedes, you understand, or a diamond necklace. But if I was on my normal spending jag, what would I get?

This dress has been following me around quite a lot recently – £99 from Traffic People via  Lux Fix.

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I think it would look so insanely cute with clogs and a little denim jacket.

This long black jacket from Hush would be useful with absolutely everything. I have something similar, but it’s shorter and it is literally coming apart at the seams. BUT I’M GOING TO KEEP WEARING IT DAMN IT. £79.

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Adorable “Salut” t-shirt from J Crew (just wrote “Slut” then in a moment of Freudian thingummy but corrected myself) £32.50.

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This block stripe T-Shirt from MiH £59.50:

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Fucking mental yellow tassel earrings from Anthropologie £48:

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Smart new white trainers from Seven Feet Apart, £125

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I could go on.



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I have had a message from a delightful girl called Katie Apple, asking for advice about weddings and marriage. Here is her message:

Please can I put out my first request? I’m 32, getting married end of July, any advice on weddings? It’s a vague request, but as this post was about money I thought it linked in… Any advice on keeping sane in the run up, where to spend, and advice for being a newlywed?

I mean, there is just TOO MUCH to say to this. If I started writing I would never stop. Plus I didn’t actually organise my own wedding.

So I’m throwing it out to the floor! Can anyone help Katie? Please leave your helpful answers, tips and advice in the handy comments box at the bottom.

Katie – we’re here for you.


Kettlewell Colours

So, this bloody money diet then. I have coped by going back through old emails and saying “yes” to anyone who offered me a sample, which I had grandly turned down.

Kettlewell, who make good quality basics in a vast range of colours, were first on the list. Need a black polo neck in July? Kettlewell. Need a yellow vest in November? Kettlewell.

As it happens, I don’t have enough pink in my wardrobe. Pink doesn’t really suit me because I am quite pink already and wearing more pink has in the past made me look like luncheon meat.

BUT, in fact, a hint of pink is okay. So I rang up my friend at Kettlewell and screamed SEND ME PINK STUFF. And duly two vests arrived in the post.

This Long Vest Top for £25 in pink ice

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This Long camisole in mellow rose, also for £25

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Beautiful quality, lovely and stretchy. I was worried that the colours might be a bit flat, but they are both subtly toned shades of pink. I am a solid size 12 and got these in an M, which fit fine.

The Spike has been reading…

Standard Deviation by Katherine Heiney. It’s about Asperger’s, origami and marriage – set in New York. Nothing terribly much happens, but it is very brilliant.

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Money diet

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Boden Riviera dress, £98

My husband has decided, as he does periodically, that we have run out of money and we all (meaning me) have to stop buying absolutely everything we see.

I don’t know what he’s talking about!

It was only those two Ikea chairs, those three Uniqlo jumpers, a Rixo dress, some new flamingo swimming shorts for Sam, a mug with HELL YEAH written on it, 100ml of SJP’s perfume and a teeny weeny weeny bottle of Chanel nail varnish!

What is not perfectly streamlined and economical about that?!

But I like challenges and this no-shopping thing takes me back to the principles of my protestant (with a small p) youth where my mother skip-dived and clothes were strictly hand-me-down or bought from jumble sales.

So no more clothes. No more stuff. No new bikinis for the summer or another pair of espadrilles while the ones I’ve got still have the sole attached.

At first this all really panicked me but then I realised that he’s right (and I don’t always think that). I’ve got too much stuff. And I buy things for bad and potentially mentally ill reasons. I’ve written about it before in the paper, as has Leandra Medine from Man Repeller (this is not the piece I am thinking of but here is an example of her no-shopping philosophy that I can find).

I have of course made a deal with my husband that every time I do one of his Sam early-mornings I get £100 to spend on something. So far I’ve got £100. And I’m thinking about this dress:

OR about saving up a few more early mornings and getting a Manu Atelier Mini Pristine… if I can actually find somewhere that still has them in stock.

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Manu Atelier mini pristine box bag, £330

Or, just not buying anything FFS, but looking at what I have in a more thoughtful way and finding something else to do with my time other than shopping – like cooking and reading. Maybe one day some work but let’s not get carried away.

Anyway that’s all from me for a bit as it’s HALF TERM NEXT WEEK duhn duhn duhhhhhhhn so I will be busy screaming at my kids and hopping from foot to foot until it’s time for a drink.




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